Portland High School Students Adjust to Internships With Remote Learning

About 40 Portland High School students were on track to complete internships in the community in fields such as education, the arts, trades, social justice, veterinary, nursing, athletics, architecture, and social services when COVID-19 hit. Since students were no longer able to do internships in person, students participated in many remote career-exploratory activities such as informational interviews with college students and industry professionals, resume writing, cover letter writing, online job preference assessments, and identifying their values in relation to work.

One of these students is senior Alexiis Fiore, who before COVID-19 interned in Sheila Hayward’s classroom at Lyseth Elementary School. When asked to describe how the internship program impacted her she said:

The overall internship program was very beneficial, and is a great resource I think more students need to take advantage of. It provides real world experience and can help you find your path in life. It’s not just going to a work-space and gaining experience, but learning the skills you are going to need to help you succeed in life, such as how to create a resume, cover letter, how to apply for a job, etc.” 

Like we see with many internship students, because of this internship Alexiis solidified her career path of wanting to become a secondary math teacher. She shared the following about her learning:

“I was able to learn a lot of things, such as how to interact with children in a classroom setting, how to get them focused and calm down, and how to redirect them to the task at hand without dismissing them. Most importantly, I was able to learn that teaching is definitely what I want to pursue as my career. It was also helpful because as much as I love the little ones, I realized I might want to pursue a degree in secondary education instead of elementary education because I would like to teach more higher-level math.” 

We are grateful to all of our community and business partners who make this internship program possible. If your student or business would like to participate in the PHS internship program next year, please contact Andrea Levinsky, Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator at levina@portlandschoos.org.

This article was submitted by Andrea Levinsky, Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator (Portland High School) at Portland Public Schools as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email Rachel at rachel.paling@maine.gov.